A dive into the digital world – The Piedmont Highlander

Course points, good teachers and subject content are taken into account by the students when choosing courses for the coming school year. But hardly anyone takes a second look at web design when students are browsing the courses offered by Infinite Campus.

This year, six students are enrolled in Irfan Ortak’s web design class. Ortak has been teaching the subject at PHS for the past five years along with Joy of Computing and Robotics. Ortak said students will be allowed to transfer to the course mid-year for the second semester.

“The expectation is that they either have some background in programming or ideally have already completed AP CSP,” Ortak said.

Although Ortak recommends that students considering web design have some prior computer and programming skills, this is not a requirement.

The PHS computer path is designed to enable AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) and AP Computer Science A (AP CSA) students to implement their web design skills. Junior Chase Stoddard is currently enrolled in Web Design.

“I would 100% recommend other students to take this course,” said Stoddard. “There are some things we learn in this course that are found in AP CSP, but for the most part you can go into the course with very little experience and have a great time.”

Sophomore Ryo Woltag is currently taking AP CSP.

“I would definitely consider taking the web design course if I knew more about it,” Woltag said.

Like Woltag, freshman Lila Rosen also expressed interest in the web design course. Rosen is not currently taking any computer science courses, but plans to start the program in the second year.

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“I will definitely consider web design as a junior or senior after gaining some computer experience. I just want to know more about the course,” Rosen said.

Junior Spencer Barlow is another student enrolled in web design. According to Barlow, students have creative freedom and can implement both the code covered in class and their own individual creativity in their projects.

“It’s not stressful work,” Ortak said. “It’s more creative work.”

Students have five projects to complete during the year and the course does not have a final exam. Web design students can also find real jobs, create portfolios, and build resumes during their class time.

“[Web Design] will look good on your resume, college applications, and job applications,” Ortak said.

The web design curriculum includes two certification exams. Ortak said the majority of students pass the course’s two certification exams. He said the material tested in the exams is helpful for students who want to continue exploring computers and technology.

Ortak said the lack of web design awareness was likely due to COVID-19.

“We didn’t have enough chances to show that this class exists,” he said. “As long as we have awareness and more students are aware of this opportunity and parents are aware, this can be a living lesson.”

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